How to Build a GHG Inventory Management Plan

Suppliers and manufacturers, take note: You may soon be asked by your buyers to provide detailed reports on your GHG emissions–particularly with regard to emissions used to produce their products.

Setting up a GHG inventory management plan now can help you avoid issues with your buyers in the coming months and years.

As temperatures rise, the pressure is on

Between drought-fueled supply chain issues and greenwashing crackdowns, the world’s largest brands and buyers are feeling the pressure to show substantive progress on decarbonization goals. 

As a result, corporations are increasingly asking their value chains to disclose their carbon emissions. Why? Because a corporation’s upstream and downstream carbon emissions – also known as Scope 3 emissions — represent a massive barrier to achieving decarbonization goals.

Last month, for example, Apple called on its global suppliers to report on carbon emissions related to every facet of Apple product production. Moving forward, all of Apple’s global suppliers are required to report scope 1 and scope 2 emissions with a priority placed on partnering with those working with urgency and making measurable progress toward decarbonization. The move follows similar initiatives from Walmart>, Unilever, and scores of other multinational companies, with new initiatives being announced faster than the media can report them.

As brands are held to higher standards around the accuracy of their tracking and decarbonization initiatives, so too will their suppliers. Is your company ready to disclose its carbon emissions to your buyers? Do you have a plan in place to reduce those emissions over time?

Below, we share some tips on how to develop and maintain a GHG inventory management plan that ensures you can quickly and comprehensively report to your buyers with confidence.

#1. Create Your GHG Inventory

Tracking and reducing supplier and manufacturer emissions isn’t just a critical path toward curbing climate change; it’s also the way to attract and retain buyers. But are you ready to comply?

A greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory can help you get there. A GHG inventory is simply a detailed account of all of your company’s greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, fluorinated gas, etc.). To create this account, you’ll need to reflect on your operations, power sources, outsourcing, and more.

Some questions to consider as you create your inventory include: How many offices do you have, and how many manufacturing facilities? What type of energy powers your operations, and where does it come from? Do you own company vehicles, or do you outsource third-party logistics?

Try to be as comprehensive as possible. GHG Protocol, which is the global standard for measuring and managing GHG emissions, uses the GHG value chain diagram to help organizations account for carbon emissions. Emissions derive from a variety of sources, which are then grouped into scopes 1, 2 and 3.

#2. Build Your GHG Inventory Management Plan

Developing a GHG inventory is the first step toward carbon tracking and reporting. However, these inventories need to be paired with a GHG inventory management plan (IMP) to assure their validity.

As regulators begin to crack down on financial organizations and corporations who report misleading claims about their GHG inventories, an IMP assures that your reporting is accurate and transparent.

According to the GHG Protocol, your IMP should include your data, methods, systems, and documentation.

For instance, your GHG inventory might include a line item about your company’s emissions related to electricity use. Your IMP would include information about how you quantified those emissions based on your electric usage data, the carbon emissions associated with your energy provider’s energy portfolio, the measurement timeline, and the location(s) in question.

#3. Develop a Decarbonization Strategy

Beyond complying with buyer requirements, how do you plan to use your IMP? Many companies find that it is a great way to identify organizational waste, redundancy, and financial savings opportunities.

Work with internal teams and external partners to create a decarbonization strategy that aligns with your company’s near and long-term goals.

Remember: You can’t manage what you don’t measure

Reducing your GHG emissions can streamline operations, improve company performance, and attract and retain buyers. But without a north star to guide you, it’s easy to lose track of your progress or miss the biggest savings opportunities.

At SustainaBase, we make it easy for companies across the value chain to catalog their GHG inventories and develop world-class inventory management plans. That way, you can focus your efforts on identifying the best opportunities to reduce your emissions and strengthen your relationship with buyers.

Develop a GHG Inventory Management Plan with SustainaBase

Ensure your company is ready to work with buyers – like Apple – that require disclosure of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

We provide the quality assurance that your data is accurate and within compliance with the GHG protocol. Our team researches appropriate emissions factors, confirms units of measurement are converted correctly, and provides feedback on anomalies and any data gaps. At SustainaBase, we believe a quality sustainability plan begins with quality data.

To learn more about our software, book a demo with our team.

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